Not only do drivers in Metro Vancouver pay the highest for gas, they continue to pay the highest tax on that gas in the country.
That’s according to a report released Thursday by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation for its 20th annual Gas Tax Honesty Day, amid prices at the pump hitting 160.9 a litre and higher in Vancouver.
Drivers in Metro Vancouver and Victoria pay about 51 cents and 45 cents, respectively, in taxes per litre of gas. That’s due to an additional transit tax, used to support transit projects and services in those regions.
In the rest of B.C., commuters pay 38 cents in taxes per litre, because of the federal excise tax, a provincial excise tax, a carbon tax and GST.
“B.C. drivers depend on their cars and trucks every day to get to work and to fuel their busy lives. The government needs to slash these punishing taxes to make life more affordable,” said Kris Sims, the federation’s B.C. director.
“Governments are using gas stations like bank machines, soaking drivers for tax dollars every time they fuel up – they need to stop it.”
Manitoba and Saskatchewan have the lowest gas prices because they have the lowest gas taxes, the report said.
“On average, 33 per cent of the price at the pump in gas taxes,” said federal director Aaron Wudrick.
That means an average fill-up of 64 litres includes $28.61 in taxes and $2.12 of tax-on-tax.
If the federal government continues with its carbon taxes, which are placed on gas to encourage drivers to emit less either by driving less or switching to a more fuel-efficient vehicles, the report said, things will only get worse for commuters’ pocket books.
“In fact, if existing taxes on gasoline were simply labelled as ‘carbon taxes’ they would already be at an average of $192 per tonne,” Wudrick said.
The federal Gas Tax Fund is a permanent source of funding provided up front, twice a year, to provinces and territories, who in turn flow the money to municipalities for infrastructure projects.
From public waste projects to tourism or water filtration systems, about $2 billion is dispersed each year to 3,600 communities across Canada.
But Wudrick argued something needs to let up, especially with gas prices hitting historic highs.
“Canadians need relief, and eliminating the federal excise tax is an immediate way to help ease that burden.”